As the coronavirus death toll in the United States crossed 4,000 and officials predict that the virus has the potential to kill as many as 200,000 people in the country, President Donald Trump warned Americans of “very painful” two weeks ahead.
The president, who tried to play down the seriousness of the pandemic just a week ago by saying that the early COVID-19 fatality numbers were much less than those from the flu or even road accidents, changed his stance with the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” he said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that was meant to formally reissue nationwide coronavirus guidelines.
Trump, who a week ago, said that he hopes the United States will shake off coronavirus by Easter, set an April 30 deadline to continue with the social distancing guidelines.
Dr. Deborah Leah Birx, who is the coronavirus response coordinator in the White House, said even if the federal guidelines are followed precisely, between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths could still occur. This is higher than the number of Americans died in the Vietnam War.
It is estimated that more than 2,000 people could die each day in the United States in mid-April, when the country is expected to reach “peak resource use.”
“There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. Just behaviours,” according to Dr Birx.
Trump and members of the White House coronavirus task force presented a slides show projecting their models for how the social distancing measures might help prevent mass fatalities.
“As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, who attended the briefing.
Coronavirus is spreading in the United States at a pace faster than in any other part of the world.
The U.S. now has the third highest death toll after Italy and Spain – 4059, and the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world – 188,639.
New York is the worst-hit state with 1714 deaths and 75983 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
New Jersey has fast overtaken many other states to become the second worst-affected state with 267 deaths and 18696 infections.
Michigan (259 deaths, 7615 infections), Louisiana (239 deaths, 5237 infections), Washington (225 deaths, 5482 infections), California (181 deaths, 8548 infections) and Georgia 125 death, 4117 infections) are the other worst-affected states.
Wyoming is now the only US state not to have reported a death from the coronavirus.
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